“It’s like a hotel” - tenant James is among first to move into homes for older people

One of the first tenants to move into a new development in Glasgow, designed to help older people live independently for longer, says his dream home is “like a hotel”.

James and agnes Auchinlea

James McKechnie moved into a new development at Auchinlea, near Easterhouse, which is part of Wheatley Group’s Livingwell service.

Wheatley - Scotland’s leading housing, care and property-management group - has completed 21 modern, energy-efficient homes specially designed for older people.

James, 68, said: “I like everything about my new home. It’s like a hotel. I love the big kitchen. I have been cooking more than I did before. My other favourite thing is the downstairs shower.

“I was previously living in Craigend before moving into my new house. I stayed in Easterhouse before, and all my family and friends are round about here. My family are all in Easterhouse so pop in and out all the time whenever they want to.

“I know loads of people round about and I wanted to move back to be close to everyone.”

The development includes rooms for socialising – as soon as the pandemic is over – and a courtyard garden for people to enjoy in the warm weather.

Livingwell is Wheatley Group’s service to support older tenants live independently.

Provided by Wheatley Care, it includes a wide range of leisure and social activities for tenants, while following coronavirus safety advice, and a tried-and-tested OkEachDay service, operated by Alertacall.

Alertacall is a technology-based service that increases contact between customers and their housing team. In the new Livingwell development at Auchinlea, customers are using a specially developed touchscreen which has the OKEachDay button.

The OKEachDay service makes sure daily contact is maintained with customers 365 days a year in way that is convenient for them by ‘checking in’ each day by pressing a button on their tablet. Customers can also receive important messages via their touchscreen from their housing team which helps keep them up to date with news about their property, important tenant information and much more.

If tenants fail or forget to check-in, the Alertacall team call them to ensure they are okay. The service gives tenants the option to speak to someone on a daily basis when it is suitable for them, which in turn can help to reduce loneliness and promote independence as well as giving customers the freedom to get on with their day.

The 21-home development is the first time Wheatley has built housing specifically for Livingwell tenants and is part of Wheatley’s larger Auchinlea neighbourhood of 106 houses and flats. The one and two-bedroom Livingwell flats share the site with mainstream social rent properties.

The site is in the heart of central Easterhouse, near the shops and health centre. It lay vacant for many years after demolition of unpopular tenements.

James’s neighbour, Agnes Pennie, added: “I love my new flat and the new lease of life that comes with it.

“Livingwell with Alertacall provides me with peace of mind that someone is there at the other end if I need them. As an older person, using technology can be daunting, but the touchscreen is such a simple and straightforward system. It gives me a sense of security without inhibiting my independence.”

Wheatley Group’s Livingwell lead, Melissa Campbell, said: “It is lovely to see people like James move into their new home and make friends in their community.

“We are proud of our new Livingwell homes and, after a really difficult year, look forward to seeing our older tenants get back to living their lives to the full as part of a thriving community.”

Monday, May 17, 2021